Punjab Kings' (PBKS) all-rounder Liam Livingstone credited Jonny Bairstow for setting the tone for the side after they beat Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) by 54 runs in the 60th match of the ongoing IPL 2022 on May 13 at the Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai.
Bairstow smashed a brilliant knock of 66 runs off 29 balls, laced with four boundaries and seven huge sixes, and set the stage for Livingstone, who hammered a 42-ball 70 to take Punjab Kings to 209/9 in 20 overs against the Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB).
Defending the total, PBKS restricted the RCB to 155/9 with Kagiso Rabada snaring three wickets to win the match by 54 runs on Friday. Bairstow was adjudged Player of the Match for his power-hitting.
Livingstone said at the post-match presentation: “Jonny set it up perfectly for the rest of the batters and I think the way we bowled was pretty exceptional on a very good pitch. If we get our chance to put the opposition under pressure, then (we should) make sure we do that and I thought Jonny did that perfectly today to one of their best bowlers throughout the tournament.”
He further added, “The intent that he showed in his first over put us way ahead of the game, not just in the game but mentally as well. The way Jonny went out there and played today, we know how good he is at the top of the order and he showed that.”
On his and Bairstow's innings, Livingstone said: “It's how we want to play our cricket. I thought Jonny was outstanding and really set the tone and from then on, I thought we were ahead of the game and it gave us a chance, especially myself, to get in and assess the conditions a little bit longer than usual. So it was nice to be able to knock it around for a little bit before setting a platform to go at the end.
Jonny set it up perfectly for the rest of the batters and I think the way we bowled was pretty exceptional on a very good pitch. I still thought we were 10-15 (runs) short with the size of the boundary and how good the pitch was, so I think all credit goes to our bowlers.”
On his role in the team, England all-rounder said: “It's been a different role. I've been up and down the order and just trying to make a contribution in every game wherever I am. Sometimes I come in with three overs left, sometimes I've come in the Powerplay. The proudest thing for me is being able to contribute in all areas of the game, (it) is pretty pleasing for me. I feel like I'm seeing the ball well at the moment and it's nice to be able to put in performances that go a long way to winning your team the game. So it's been nice to get a few runs and long may it continue.”
Livingstone signed off by saying, “Having the sort of knowledge to bat in the Powerplay but also having the skills to come in and hit from ball one at the death is something I work really hard on and I pride myself on. So wherever the team and the coach and the captain want me to bat, I'll try to do the best of my ability.”
(With IANS Inputs)